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Shift Your Attitude
This Holiday Season

Don’t invest in stress, invest in gratitude

By Shelly Elsliger

By It is that time of the year again. And I don’t know about you, but the decorations and Christmas carols seem to be starting earlier and earlier. In fact, this year I noticed that some shoppers often have carts filled with Halloween leftovers entangled in green and red garland as they make their way up and down the aisles.

Oh… the holiday season – pleasure for some and painful for others. It is the time often associated with family gathering, good food, gifts, music, and peace on earth. Peace on Earth for some but not for all – since it is also the time many people dread since emotional triggers are on high and suddenly we are reminded of memories many of us would just prefer to leave behind.

There are so many things we can do to relieve stress, keep things real, and truly enjoy what is going on around us.

For many, the holiday season is one of dread rather than joy, stress as opposed to peace; topped off with a shot of anxiety. If this resonates with you, don’t worry, you are not alone! The holiday season is not going anywhere! However, you can decide that this year you will do things differently and not invest in Stress but rather invest in Gratitude this holiday season.

There are so many things we can do to relieve stress, keep things real, and truly enjoy what is going on around us:

There are only traditions, no official rules and regulations

So often, we forget about ourselves in our attempt to do everything right for others from gift buying, to decorating, to cooking a meal that will satisfy all; a lot of effort going into making everything perfect. Guess what? There are no rules and regulations around Christmas. There have been traditions that have been passed down but no rules and regulations. What we see on TV and what we often hear from others quite often is simply an expressed desire or hope as opposed to the reality that they will be living.

So, remember keep it simple by doing what you can without forgetting about your own limitations in the process. It will be what it will be and it will be fine! It is never too late to start a new tradition. Take it from me; once I stopped eating meat pie, at midnight, I was much happier! It may be time to start thinking of new traditions!

…keep it simple by doing what you can without forgetting about your own limitations in the process.

Do less, say ‘No’

Say ‘No’ at least once – and maybe even more. There is power in the word ‘No’. We tend to go overboard with gifts, cooking, visiting, entertaining but it is OK to say ‘No’ in order to take care of you. This will give you time to still prioritize your commitments like a daily walk, morning meditation, a workout, or a nap. Don’t try to squeeze in more holiday than you can handle. As Author James and Claudia Altuscher said in the title of their best seller, The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness.

Don’t Sweat the Small and Not So Important Stuff

The holiday will not come to an end if the house is a bit messy, dinner runs a bit late, or you skipped on buying a lot of ‘things’ this year. The holidays are really about family and be grateful that there is a family to share it with. This would be a good time to think about those less fortunate and maybe get the family involved in a Shoebox Project with over 45 chapters across Canada. Giving to others can be so rewarding.

Take a Tech-Break and Get Unplugged

Cell phone buzzes, email alerts and regular vibrations take up time and can be quite exhausting. What better time to turn off the tech than over the holidays? Since the holidays are about being together, what better time to take a break and become more in touch with the real world. Invest in real conversation, play games, go for a walk together, and enjoy the intimacy of true togetherness.

Since the holidays are about being together, what better time to take a break and become more in touch with the real world.

Give an Experience Rather Than Stuff

Think about giving an experience. Well intentioned gifts can lead to more stress for both giver and the receiver. Experiences will last forever and can still be wrapped up. Individually we are consuming more stuff that we did collectively 50 years ago. Experiences can last forever and can help to create bonding experiences.

Shift Your Attitude

Starting each day with a feeling of gratitude can go a long way. Starting the morning with a feeling of thanks will help to anchor your feelings and help to run your day! A deliberate attitude of gratitude can make a difference in how you see the day ahead as well as the challenges that will undoubtedly come along with the season.

For an additional pick-me-up, think of writing those thoughts down and sticking them in a place you will regularly see them, throughout the day, to remind you of what truly fills you with joy. It will also to help you stay in the moment.

Starting the morning with a feeling of thanks will help to anchor your feelings and help to run your day!

Remember Your Reason for the Season

What do the holidays mean to you? Go back to the basics and think about your ideals and what you would like the holidays, and this time of the year, to represent. Focus on what’s important and step back into what is meaningful.

This holiday season could be “the most wonderful time of the year” but it may be time to pull in the reigns, go back to basics, change the focus, make new traditions, and open our minds to the what’s truly important and how we can use this time to appreciate the true joys of the holiday season.

Image: State Farm via StockPholio.net


Shelly Elsliger

Shelly Elsliger is a Career Coach and LinkedIn Trainer at the University of Toronto. After spending more than 20 years in Montreal, she moved to Toronto in 2015. She credits her attitude and strength for helping her successfully navigate the transition, and she continuously spreads the message to the people she connects with.
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